Qualifications for the 2022 World Cup: Roberto Martinez’s selection will be wide
En last September, Roberto Martinez summoned a core of 33 players large enough to meet the demands of a Côte d’Ivoire-England-Iceland triptych well placed in the calendar. The same, or almost, before the three important meetings against Switzerland, England and Denmark in November, where the Catalan had called up 32 players.
This time, there is no question of a friendly match against Wales (03/27), Czechia (03/27 in Prague) and Belarus (03/30) since these three nations stand on the path of the Red Devils to Qatar. But the observation remains the same: with three international meetings to manage in just seven days, the national coach will have to spare his group and therefore expand its composition to at least 28 players. It is all the more true that with three months of the Euro and at the heart of an important end of season for each one, Roberto Martinez can more than ever not play with the health of his men.
The less “fresh” on the physical level should therefore, like the injured, not hear their name being mentioned this Friday. Yari Verschaeren, Nacer Chadli or Elias Cobbaut have just taken over or are in the process of doing so, but this gathering seems to come too soon for them. Their name should be added to the long list of unavailable, especially in defense (Boyata, Vanheusden, Bornauw, Delcroix), which could allow Christian Kabasele and Arthur Theate, preselected in an enlarged list (to what point?) To ‘integrate the kernel. Thomas Vermaelen may be back if Vissel Kobe, his club which does not know of an international truce in Japan, agrees to release him.
Without Praet, Witsel and Eden Hazard, the national coach will also have to find new resources in the middle, with why not the first selection of Albert Sambi Lokonga. A return of Adnan Januzaj, who has not worn the national jacket since September 2019, cannot be ruled out. Just like a new surprise, so many Roberto Martinez has reserved for us at the end of 2020 …